Fiction: Idiot Thoughts
Content Warning: Suicidal Ideation
By Tyler Plofker
I am an idiot. I am an idiot who thinks idiot thoughts. One example of an idiot thought I think is "I am an idiot. I am an idiot who thinks idiot thoughts." Another example is "Fish." Another example is "I should jump head first into this incoming subway train so my idiot head breaks into idiot pieces of white, because then there will be no more idiot thoughts but only the pieces of white and probably also some red mush."
These thoughts are constant. I think them while brushing my teeth, walking to work, eating dinner, talking to voices on my cell phone, brushing my teeth, watching pixels do things on my cell phone, taking a shower, brushing my teeth. I even think them while pooping.
Here’s an example of how my idiot thoughts occur in the world. Last month, I was buying groceries at the place I usually buy groceries. I put ten to fifteen items in my cart. I rolled my cart to the cashier’s conveyor belt and started to put my items on top of it. Then I thought about being sucked into the belt like I was in a Final Destination film. I thought about my body being crushed and shredded by the belt’s movement. The cashier, a teenage boy who I’d never seen before, said, “How’s it going?” I said, “Always,” and smiled. I had and have no idea why I said this word. I continued to put my items on the belt while avoiding eye contact and thinking, “idiot idiot idiot.” Then I thought about asking the new cashier if he was new. Then I didn’t ask the new cashier anything, but instead thought about getting sucked into the belt again. Then I paid for the items.
In an attempt to stop the idiot thoughts, I once tried sitting in a chair and closing my eyes and focusing on the air entering and exiting my nose. But all this did was make the idiot thoughts more noticeable because then there was nothing besides them and the air going in and out of my nose. I opened my eyes so that even though there were still the idiot thoughts, there were also things like bananas. I have not tried to meditate since.
Other attempts (like moving my body in various ways, or holding heavy objects while moving my body in various ways) did nothing except sometimes making me sweat.
When I was eight years old and playing Pokémon Ruby Version, I didn't have idiot thoughts. When I was eight years old and playing Pokémon Ruby Version, I had very good thoughts. Thoughts like "Where can I capture Pikachu?" and "I need to level up." I would eat my Cocoa Pebbles and think, "That's delicious." Now I eat my Cocoa Pebbles and think, “Maybe I should move to the South because then it would be easier to get a gun, and then I can put the gun in my mouth."
I wish I could turn off the idiot thoughts and instead just think about the sun and the moon and basic normal things like that. Like I wish I could lie in the sunshine and feel the warmth and think, "This is warm and good and I am content." Or maybe not think anything at all but just feel the warmth and sigh happily. I wish I could run in the moonlight and feel the cold grass under my feet and hear the katydids' songs and see a tiny bat flitter from a branch to another branch and think nothing. But I can’t. The thoughts come whether I want them to or not.
Over the last week, I’ve tried a new tactic. I’ve tried shoving other people’s thoughts into my head so my head also has non-idiot thoughts in it, and then battling my idiot thoughts with their non-idiot thoughts. One example of a thought I’ve shoved into my head is Ernest Hemingway’s. His thought is “The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again, after the hell is over. So you have to resolve in advance to last out the time when you don't believe that.” But Ernest Hemingway killed himself with a gun. Also, my idiot thoughts come whether my life is swell or not, so Ernest Hemingway’s thought is not really the best thought for me.
The best thought I’ve shoved into my head is E.M. Cioran’s. His thought is “Suicide is the only idea that allows man to live. Suicide gives me the idea that I can leave this world when I want to, and that makes life bearable. Instead of destroying it.… I’ve always tried to tell [people] that, since one can kill oneself anytime, to put it off.” This is a great thought. I keep this thought in my head and when I think an idiot thought I also try to think this thought. When I remember to think this thought, I do feel better. I feel like my idiot thought becomes a non-idiot thought.
It’s not perfect and it’s only been a week, but it’s helped. It’s helped a lot.
I buy the new Pokémon Scarlet Version and lie in the sun and play it. I think some idiot thoughts and then I think Cioran’s thought and then I think, “Fish.” Fish Cioran fish Cioran fish fish fish. I capture an Eevee and think, “I need to level up this Eevee.” The sun is warm. It is okay.
Tyler Plofker is a writer in NYC. In his free time, he likes drinking water.